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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Sep 11, 2006 1:50pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: A question for the lucky '77 showgoers

I know you're out there.

i saw my first show in 1979, and I'm not complaining about the run I had at all (last show in '94 at Highgate). i was lucky enough to catch Keith and Donna before they left...I saw and heard some mind-blowingly fabulous shows...

BUT:

As anyone who's read my posts knows, I'm kinda nuts about 1977. i just think it was such a superior year, really consistently THE best year the band ever had, and yeah, i'm a little jealous.

i guess what I want to know from those who WERE there for any of those amazing runs in May and June, the ridiculously hot fall tour, and the culminating Winterland run at the end of the year--did you KNOW you were seeing something special--something beyonnd the pale?

had you been seeing the band for years previous and notice a marked change for the better in the bands's tightness, Jerry's strong vocals, the pulsating jams (the 5/8/77 Cornell Dew--I mean, c'mon, did you think the roof was gonna tear off the barn???)...or am i just overestimating what i've heard all these years just on tape and CD???

i mean, i just don't see how that can be the case. If they sound this good on tape, how could they not have been twice as incredible live????

Also: '79 being my first show, I probably never saw them play in an arena that didn't hold AT LEAST 10 to 15,000 people. My guess is Hampton, VA. would have been the smallest.

So not only did you lucky so and so's get to see these outstanding performances, in many cases you were one of--i'm guessing--5 or 6,000 TOPS in places like Cornell, Broome Cty, binghampton, or my all time favorite "Field House" at the Univ. of Northern Illinois (for Pete's sake!)What was it like to have THOSE shows played in THOSE intimate settings? Don't be bashfull--i can take it. (I think ;-)

I'd love to hear especially from anyone at that 10-29-77 show. I tell you--if I had access to a time machine, and was sure it wouldn't screw with the space/time continuum in a terribly bad way ...it would defintely be one my stops.

so am i right? were those 1977 shows really something other than else????

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Poster: JodyC Date: Sep 11, 2006 5:50pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: A question for the lucky '77 showgoers

First show was 5/7 Boston. I liked the Dead, although at that point they were another great band like Zep, Allmans, Clapton, Who, etc. We saw shows for the entertainment. I was a jr or sr in high school, and in our eyes the Dead head movement was a little foreign. Dropped before the show, etc etc. Heard the show again for the first time a year and a half ago once I discovered this site and only then appreciated what I heard (or didn't hear!)I was never in a position to see them again live after my last shows in college in 81, then saw them 5 times between the summer of 94 and 95. Didn't realize how much they changed until listening to those shows compared with earlier stuff. I listen to them more now than ever!And 77 was a fun and consistently hot year. St. Louis 5/16 is one of the many gems that gets little notice. Check it out if you haven't already.

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Poster: CPettingill Date: Sep 13, 2006 10:24am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: A question for the lucky '77 showgoers

My first was Baltimore 5-26-77. Had no idea what I was getting into, never heard of the Dead at the time. didn't know any songs. The only concert I'd ever been to at that point was Boston, Foghat, Crack The Sky (Baltimore Folks know this band). I was 16 and forbidden to go because of "bad behaviour". Went anyway with a friends older brother, who dosed me on the sly, first time for that as well. The brother smuggled in a portable cassette player to record the show, held it up over his head he did, waiting for the click to flip the tape. Voices is heard throughout the long since eaten tape. What song is this... Shaddup... What song is this... Shaddup... To be honest, wish I knew now what I didn't know then. I was at a great show looking back. Never heard a good version of it till I found the Archive, first thing I looked for. Got a SBD before they went away. Spent the next two years going to Aerosmith, Blue Oyster Cult, Cheap Trick, Emerson Lake & Palmer shows. Loud, lights, laser beams. Then went to a show in 79 in Baltimore to see the "new guy" on piano. Scarlet Begonias/Fire On The Mountain...damn...hooked ever since.

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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Sep 13, 2006 11:47am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: A question for the lucky '77 showgoers

So far, your experience seems to be the pattern--that is, folks kind of wandering into the scene, not knowing much about the band and therefore not experiencing these '77 shows in the manner that I am--as someone who only heard them on tape and after years of my own show-going.

Of course, this is only a small sampling to this point of people who've responded, but it's interesting that no one has said what i expected which is: "yeah, they really turned it on in '77...'heads were talking about the string of amazing performances from one venue to the next--the energy, the extended jamming, the incredible peaks, etc." Nor have I heard so far from 'heads who kept seeing the band after 1977 and can look back and say with certainty "there was nothing like those shows at Winterland, and in May, and the fall tour, etc."

You wouldn't have that reaction if you were just seeing them for the first time, as most who responded so far seem to, and the appreciation comes--as you say--years later upon re-discovering these shows in good sound quality on the LMA.

But keep the stories coming. Part of the reason i'm asking this is to check if i'm not the only one who thinks 1977 was some kind of bell weather mark for the band. To my ears, it is consistently the most incredible year by far, and it seems at least "donu" has confirmed that--yeah, the Cornell show WAS something special. (Sorry, Dick, and RIP, but I can't see how you could say otherwise).

cosmicC, if you do find that link, i'd be real curious to read it to see which shows Dick thinks were so much better that year (I'd put 10-29, 5-7 at the B-Garden, 5-9 in Buffalo, and several from the winterland ahead, but it's almost 6 of one, half a dozen of the other, they were all so good.)

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Poster: sonomajon Date: Sep 14, 2006 8:20am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: A question for the lucky '77 showgoers

My first show was 6-10-73...I was just a 14 year old kid but my older bro took me and I had a great time and was overwhelmed by the scene...Saw a bunch in 76'...but to answer your question...yes I think a bunch of us started to realize we were experiencing something very special in the spring of 77...I saw the capital theater then one of the palladium shows but for me it got really smoking in Boston and continued through Buffalo...I made it a point on all nights to be within the first ten rows in front of Jerry getting"horribly smashed" and loving every minute of. Cornell was a mind blowing night where the band and audience were one along with the forces of nature...I walked into that show with sandals on and when we emerged from that field house Mother Nature had blown in a snow squall through Ithaca...So yeah it was beyond Morning Dew ...It was crystalline powdery snow on the ground with a big moon sneakin in and out of the clouds on the ride back to Oneonta...We started referring to the shows as going to "church" as for me it was a truly spiritual experience...In terms of vocals as a band IMHO in was never better than those spring shows...Just listen to the Comes A Time with Jerry and Donna from 5-9 Buffalo...gorgeous vocals! There was a ton of this blue construction paper around at the time and it sure seemed like we were all riding along the same wavelength. By the time the fall rolled around we were all chomping at the bit to see the boys again. I saw 11-4-5-6 and it was nothing short of spectacular! But it was different than the spring...aside from the sound (crunchier!) the vibe had subtely shifted as well...The crowds were a bit more raucous...and the band maybe a smidgeon less shall we say polished...which wasn't a negative at all...it was just different...Colgate was probably the best party I have ever been to in my life...People were very very high and pumped! Bertha just about blew the roof off and the BEW is my fave...the third solo pass Jerry just rips... Binghampton was another monster party...barely made it after driving back from Rochester the night b4..the bracket that held my alternator snapped on the way home from Rochester and I had to stop and rummage through some ones scrap wood pile on the side of a country road...found a 2x4 jammed it in and off we sped! The 1/2 step from Bing is second to none in my book...Anyway ther you go! The answer is yes iI think we knew it was something special!

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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Sep 14, 2006 9:48am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: A question for the lucky '77 showgoers

Thank you for the tale, Sonamajon!

I can only say I wish i'd been there as well. Your example of the Comes a Time from Buff. is an excellent one...it's almost eerie how quiet the crowd gets, letting Jerry and Donna take the time to really stretch out those beautiful vocals and lyrics, and that guitar solo Jerry plays in the middle...words are insufficient to describe it.

I can see as well how once they returned in the fall, folks were understandably jacked up, wanting even MORE, and how the vibe amongst the crowd maybe wasn't as mellow, but it seems the boys did deliver. Those early Nov. shows are fantastic--totally agree w/the 1/2 Step call from the Bing.

I'm assuming you've heard or have a copy of the 10-29 show from N. Ill.? Wonder fo folks who were on tour the whole time were talking about the insane Mickey/billy drums at the end of Sugar Mag. and the like.

I guess i just find a groove and a smoothness to this year of shows that seems to have gotten away from the band almost as soon as '78 began. Of course, there were scores and scores of amazing shows in the years to follow, but from what i can hear, they never retained that "perfect storm" combination of intense jams, smooth, relaxed delivery, "perfect Brothers" standards of nailing the lyrics 99% of the time, and the occassional bring-down-the-house number all rolled into one, as Jerry might say.

Strangely, I expected Phil to spend a lot of time discussing 1977 in Searching for the Sound, but he just glances over it--probably b/c he says he spent most of that year inside a bottle of bourbon,and forgot a lot of it, but you wouldn't know that from his playing (as the opening bass groove to the Cornell Scarlet attests).

Glad you and your car eventually made it through to speak of these things, and thanks a ton for giving me the 411 on your attendance at those magic shows.

Any others with such tales? Bring it on!

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Poster: donu Date: Sep 11, 2006 9:16pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: A question for the lucky '77 showgoers

As Morning Dew progressed, and Weir was rolling forward and back with a huge grin, and it just kept getting faster and faster, and with the visceral memory of the Scarlet/Fire jam still intact, it was clear that I was in the midst of a transcendant moment at Cornell. The One More Saturday Night seemed like a silly joke after that, and the snow in May seemed miraculous.

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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Sep 12, 2006 10:45am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: A question for the lucky '77 showgoers

So how does it feel to have been at one of those shows most every Head believes has got to be in the top 10 of all time, if not the top 5?

and were you at any other shows that tour?

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Poster: donu Date: Sep 13, 2006 6:38am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: A question for the lucky '77 showgoers

Responding to grendelschoice, I was at 4/23, 11/4, and 11/6, and there was no comparison for me. 11/6 was kind of a repeat of 5/8 [scarlet/fire, st. stephen, nfa, st. stephen], so it didn't hold the magic for me, and the other two had memorable moments [franklin' tower, stella blue...], but didn't have the transformative feeling of being elevated and left there that 5/8 did. That was very clear as the concerts ended.

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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Sep 13, 2006 9:43am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: A question for the lucky '77 showgoers

Shows the amazing power of that Cornell show b/c the others you mention are really pretty terrific as well.

The 1/2 Step from 11-6-77 is still my all time favorite and I just can't imagine how crazy that would have been seeing it in person.

About how many people would you estimate were at those shows? I'm guessing 4, maybe 5,000? How was the sound in those college barns and smaller arenas?

Other 1977 show veterans--i'm still looking to hear from you as well!

GC

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Poster: cosmicharlie Date: Sep 14, 2006 8:07am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: A question for the lucky '77 showgoers

you know, somewhere in OWGWAMS at www.deadnetcentral.com Dick Latvala has a few pages of commentary covering 1977, later on I'll try to find it and link it here.
Surprizingly he pans the Cornell show and lists a bunch of 77 shows he considers better.

ah! finally tracked the links down!
From here >> http://home1.gte.net/cmp1163x/vaultDNC.htm
to here >> http://home1.gte.net/cmp1163x/vault77.txt


This post was modified by cosmicharlie on 2006-09-14 15:07:46

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Poster: direwolf0701 Date: Sep 14, 2006 8:52am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: A question for the lucky '77 showgoers

interesting reading - thanks for the link - not sure if i completely agree with every show he mentioned. must be because (in my calcified brain) 5/8 has always been so "archetypal" in sound and legend. Still haven't heard a scarlet-fire segue i've enjoyed more. and the SS-NFA-SS aint too bad either :)

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Poster: cosmicharlie Date: Sep 14, 2006 9:32am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: A question for the lucky '77 showgoers

well that's just Dicks opinion, imo 5/8/77 was one of the best of 1977. When i asked, He told me the 5/26/73 Kezar Stadium show was so-so...I really enjoy that show! I think sometimes he liked being a Dick lol :)

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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Sep 14, 2006 10:05am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: A question for the lucky '77 showgoers

Thanks for that link, CC...even if I don't agree completely w/Dick on this point, i'm really sad he passed on (as did the Dix Pix series) before he could pump out some of those other shows he mentions!!!

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Poster: donu Date: Sep 13, 2006 10:54am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: A question for the lucky '77 showgoers

There were probably around 6,000 people at Cornell. My first show was 12/5/71 at the Felt Forum in NYC, and the intensity of that many 'highly attuned' people in the same small place was what made it remarkable. I had no idea at the time what was going on, but knew that I wanted to be in the midst of that again.

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Poster: desact Date: Sep 12, 2006 6:32pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: A question for the lucky '77 showgoers

O.K., I'll admit that I'm old enough to have been at the Binghamton show. I'm not sure I had enough Dead savvy at the time to appreciate what I was hearing, aside from the set list containing one song after another that was among my favorites. In fact, I was never a trader, so I didn't think I'd ever hear the concert again. Was I blown away when I found it on the archive last year. I immediately downloaded the AUD and the SBD, and both sound even better than I remember it. Sort of ironic. But the AUD especially brought back so many memories... the crowd clapping during Mississippi, Bob's take a step back, Donna's momentum killing "Sunrise," (she did it really well that night, but it was still a snoozer--afraid I'm just not a fan), but then Scarlet, always one of my favorites, and the Johnny B. Goode encore. I'm not sure I'd remember all of that if it wasn't for the archive. I saw Jerry in Buffalo in Oct. 75, and no one has a set list available for that night, and I swear I can't remember one freakin' song he played! But to answer the original question, no, I don't think I appreciated it for what it was, but in retrospect, I'm sure as hell glad I was there.